Faculty Senate

Minutes of the Faculty Senate meeting               January 28, 2009


The regular meeting of the 2008-2009 Faculty Senate was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Vice-President Phil Houle.  The following senators were present for all or part of the meeting: Alexander, Chesnut, DeWitt, Dore, Esposito, Gilbert, Harvey, Houle, McCrickerd, Nelson, Van Wyke, Vitha, Walker

Absent: Allen, Bohorquez, Cramer, Cravero, Mosser, Parsa, Reincke, Sanders


The November 2008 minutes were accepted as presented.


Due to travel for University business, President Maxwell was not present at the meeting.


Report from Provost Troyer

-Within the current higher education literature, Provost Troyer indicates that there are national concerns about the spring semester enrollments. He reported that there is no evidence to indicate that Drake will experience an increase in students not returning for the Spring 2009 semester. Provost Troyer indicated that Drake’s preliminary enrollment report looks good.

-The Town Hall meeting documents will be posted to the web soon.  Also, he indicated that there will be an announcement soon concerning research incentives for faculty.

--Rachel Boon, Director of Institutional Research and Academic Compliance was asked to speak about the race/ethnicity survey.  She indicated that the two question survey is a federally mandated survey of all employees and currently enrolled students. She asked for the Senators to complete the survey and encourage all of their colleagues to also complete the survey.

-Provost Troyer addressed with the Senate the issue of email spam.  This has increased in the past weeks.  Paul Morris, Chief Information Officer (CIO), spoke to the Senate on the matter.  He indicated that approximately 80% of incoming email is spam and that a current, clever email takes over an individual’s email address book and sends spam out using the @drake.edu address.  This has caused the institution difficulty.  Several outside receivers of @drake.edu messages will pick up these spam messages and then refuse to further accept @drake.edu incoming mail.  Drake officials make efforts to contact and reestablish connections with those domains, but this manual process may take a few days.


Mr. Morris continued that to improve security a tighter password policy will be put into effect soon. Password changes will be required twice a year.  Also, an effort will be made to educate departments on how to recognize what incoming messages are bad. Drake needs to protect itself.  The password change effort will begin in the next couple of weeks.


A question was asked whether Macintosh machines were less susceptible.  The answer was no as the offending source is email.


Senator Nelson compared the spam email situation to the arms race: on-going and accelerating in complexity.


No Report given by Vice President Houle.


Old Business – none presented


New Business –

CIO Paul Morris distributed a six page document, Communications Survey Analysis and Recommendations, October 2008.  This document contains previously available information with additional analysis.  170 faculty responded to the survey last fall.  He explained Table One as representing unique logins.  Table Two presented the information for faculty.  He noted that the usage pattern was similar.


Table Three, Channel Usage by Faculty, was discussed at length. Faculty, on average, favor three or four different methods to receive Drake information. Mr. Morris commented he was surprised how high the category “Friends and Colleagues” ranked. 


One conclusion is that several communication channels need to be used to reach the Drake community. The mass email method is popular but is also unwanted by many. The Drake blueView portal has not reached the level of usage which had been hoped. Table Four data makes it hard to define the regular users, since 21% are almost never logging into blueView, noted Mr. Morris.


Many of the survey’s comments were directed toward the portal design. Improvement needs to come from interesting content and interesting design. He noted that the current portal design is out-of-the-box from the vendor.  Mr. Morris noted that a full redesign would require an outside expert to be hired. Noting the current economic condition, that is not being considered at this time.


Senator McCrickerd asked why it is important to use the portal. She wondered that if everyone was getting what they need through some mechanism, then why this mechanism was so important. Mr. Morris replied that the ability to send targeted announcements and the use of groups was an alternative to junk email.  Another reason was to create a one-stop-shop communication tool. The problem being encounter is that people are not finding what they want where they want it. The portal has tabs by role (faculty, student, and employee) to help organize the channels available.

Senator Alexander commented that he had used the groups feature and found it helpful but too many clicks.


Vice President Houle gave the example of when the phone network was created. The phones were not widely used until phones were widely available.  In the case of blueView, he continued, we do not use it since it does not have the content or posting which are relevant.  The Faculty Senate group was mentioned as an example.  It was noted that this group was created and then discontinued during the 07-08 year due to non-use and not used at all for the 08-09 year.  Vice President Houle continued that Drake has a feedback issue. We use redundant methods of communicating rather than trust one source. It would be cheaper to reduce the number of ways we need to communicate with each other if that method had true widespread usage.


Mr. Morris continued that the survey comments and suggestions are being reviewed and some actions are being taken. Channels with static information are being deleted or their contributors assisted. The MyDUSIS menu is narrow and deep requiring too many clicks. It is a design issue and we have some control over its design. 


Senator Gilbert presented the view that basic functional problems exist within the portal. He cited the fact that tabs do not refresh when open and link issues within channels and messages.  He asked if any consideration is being given to finding a totally different software.  Mr. Morris replied that he is not pursuing that option.  Senator Chesnut indicated she is aware there is an upgrade expected to the software for later this semester which includes functional enhancements to the Announcements channel. Mr. Morris agreed but cautioned that the content issues still need to be addressed.


When asked, Mr. Morris mentioned that there is an advisory group already established and functioning. Senator Chesnut offered that she has successfully used the Suggestion Box feature found on the Support Center tab.



Senator Gilbert distributed an item for Senate’s consideration.  He desired a short discussion by the body before sending the proposal to the Senate Executive Committee.  He is suggesting that a voting procedure be in place before any curriculum revision is presented.


For consideration by the Drake Faculty Senate, 29 Jan 2009:

Context: The “proposal” that has emerged for discussion by the Drake community has engendered a considerable amount of heat and some light. As a Senate, we are charged with “establishing educational policy affecting the University as a whole,” which means we will ultimately have to vote on any changes in the Drake Curriculum. However, none of us wants to do this in a vacuum, or pass anything that does not have the broad support of Faculty of Instruction. This is especially true of the present proposal, which would affect the way every Drake faculty member does his or her job. Clearly, past input measures (such as an e-vote) will not suffice to get the kind of widespread input we are seeking (recall that for the last e-vote, only thirty-two faculty participated!) Therefore, given that the matter in question is at the very heart of the University, that there will be no substantive vote on a DCTF proposal this year, and that the Drake Curriculum is the property of all the Faculty of Drake University, I (Bruce Gilbert) request (preferably by unanimous consent):


“RESOLVED: That the Faculty Senate will discuss, at a future meeting:

5) Establishing a process to determine the numerical support by the University Faculty of any proposed changes in the Drake curriculum.

6) Getting a “sense of the Senate” for what level of Faculty support is acceptable in advance of any such process.

7) Discussing methods to ensure the broadest possible inclusion and participation in this process.

8) And that this discussion will take place in the 2009 Spring Semester, and should not occur simultaneously with a discussion of the merits of the DCTF proposal per se”


Senator McCrickerd indicated she saw value in setting in place a minimum number of participants for any faculty wide measure whether it was for a curriculum issue or not. 


Faculty Senate ended at 4:35p.m.          Nancy Geiger, Secretary